• ELCA Stewardship: Web and DVD resources, including sermon starters, Bible studies, and ideas for children’s activities and congregational events. For more information, contact the ELCA stewardship office, 8765 W. Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631; 800-638-3522.
• Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money by Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson and Patricia Snell (Oxford University Press, 2008).
• The Stewardship of Life Institute: An independent project out of the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg (Pa.), offers stewardship resources, sermons, links and more.
We pray in hope that one of the worst economic crises in our country's history will soon reverse itself.
Virtually every aspect of our daily lives has been affected by the economic downturn. But, historically, congregational giving has had some degree of immunity from a poor economy, said Charles R. Lane, director of Stewardship Key Leader, a program of ELCA Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission. "I've been a pastor long enough and seen plenty of recessions come and go. I've never seen a major drop in giving because of economic downturns. But then I've never served a congregation located in a town where there was massive job layoff."
Lane said a colleague, who's been doing capital appeals for 20 years, assured him that he's never experienced a dramatic drop in giving during bad times. "What I saw last year is people cutting back in stock gifts to congregations," Lane said. "Some held back with the idea that they'll make the gift sometime during the three-year donation period when the stock has regained some value. But the vast majority of congregations that did capital appeals in 2008 have done just fine."
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